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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Swim opens 2007 with four wins in one day

    They stood in a huddle at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center five minutes before the meet started, dressed in long pants and jackets with hoods.

    A nearby thermometer read 53 degrees, but the steady drizzle and gusty wind made it that much colder for the No. 5 Arizona men’s swimming team Friday. Still, the poor conditions only unified the team, junior Albert Subirats said.

    “”As much as I’d like to say that you put it out of your head and it doesn’t affect you, it definitely does have an affect on you,”” senior Adam Ritter said. “”You use up some of your energy trying to keep warm. It’s always in the back of your head.””

    The men’s team fought through adverse weather to edge No. 12 Michigan 122-121 and upset No. 3 California , 124-118, for the first time in 14 years, totaling four victories between the men’s and women’s teams in one day.

    The No. 2 women’s team had dropped Pacific 10 Conference rival Oregon State (5-6, 1-4 Pac-10) 189-97 and NAU (5-4) 184-105 just a couple hours earlier, extending the Wildcats’ perfect record to 5-0 (3-0 Pac-10).

    “”To win a Pac-10 meet is great,”” said UA head coach Frank Busch. “”To win a really close meet makes it that much better. I was pretty excited for our guys, particularly, just because they had to fight really hard and it was really sweet for them to beat (top-ranked) teams like that.””

    Going into the last event of the day, the men’s 400-meter free relay, Arizona trailed Cal (4-2, 1-1) 111-114 and Michigan (4-4) 109-117.

    “”We all knew something special needed to happen in the relay,”” said Subirats, who led Arizona to a 3:25.88 win in the event.

    He was followed by sophomore Nicolas Nilo, freshman Joel Greenshields, and junior Darian Townsend.

    “”I was telling the guys, ‘We have to be ready for this last relay,'”” said Ritter, who had exhausted his three allotted events prior to the relay. “”I had full faith in the guys that were in it. They got up on that block and just thought about racing, just thought about getting to the wall first.””

    The women’s wins were less of nail-biters but meant just as much coming off the brutal Christmas training that started Dec. 26, Busch said.

    “”It was great just being able to get out as a team again,”” senior Whitney Myers said. “”It was a great start to the new year. I felt a great sense of pride being a part of this group of girls. We’re a really strong unit, and it really showed (in the meet).””

    Myers won the 200m backstroke with a time of 2:02.93. Arizona swept the first five spots in the 200m and 100m backstrokes.

    “”We were definitely exhausted coming into this meet,”” Myers said. “”But the hard training that we’ve done over Christmas break has given us a lot of confidence mentally.””

    Through the exhaustion, weather and competition, the Wildcats managed to ring in the new year with a victory in their first contests in 34 days. The squad broke eight school records at the Texas Invitational Dec. 2.

    “”This was one of the best experiences in terms of competition I’ve had in my four years here,”” Ritter said. “”Traditionally, Cal has dominated us. Coming in here, we’ve been training our hardest at this point since the day after Christmas. The guys are tired, and the conditions were less than ideal in terms of the weather. For us to come back after such a long layoff with the conditions and just race really well, it was great.””

    In the diving well

    Freshman Mike Guilfoil finished second for the men’s team in the 1m diving competition with 308.85 points and finished third in the 3m with 324.30 points.

    Senior Megan MacDonald finished second for the women’s team in the 3m event with 350.00 points, while sophomore Allison Scaife finished third (287.30) and senior Holly Kast finished fourth (283.70).

    MacDonald finished third in the 1m event with 259.20 points, as Kast finished fourth and Scaife finished fifth.

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